UPDATE: Secret of Mana is out now and costs £5.50, 10p less than the virtual console and without the option of a controller either. Hmm….
Even though it’s missing the feel of tactile buttons, the clunk of cartridge to plastic or the need to blow on said cartridge in order to dissipate any problematic dust particles, I’m increasingly thankful for the revival of retro classics onto the iPhone. My taste in gaming has change dramatically from when I was a beardless youth so if I wanted to experience some of the all time greats, I’d have to fork out a fair more money then I’d like (unless I chose to use an emulator. Which I do not). So news that Apple have given Square Enix the green light to release Secret of Mana onto the App Store is a call for celebration. See how producer Masaru Oyamada does so after the break along with a couple more screen shots of the paramount SNES RPG. Now Square have been quite experimental with their pricing system and for a time had the most expensive game on Apple’s service, Chaos Rings. They’re yet to give SoM a price but have assured us (via Touch Arcade) that it won’t be as much as Chaos Rings but not as cheap as 59p either.
My guess would be £3.99 which is still cheaper than the 800 Wii Points (£5.60) it costs on the virtual console.
When nearly all console-based RPGs where making players take turns with the AI to fight, Secret of Mana took the Zelda route with real-time fighting and a top down map of prettied pixels. A lot of iOS role playing games owe their existence to games like this and its inclusion to the platform’s repertoire seems less like a harping of past glory and more like the returning of an old hero. I am a little skeptical as to the control method because like a lot of adventuring games for a touchscreen, it has a virtual d-pad and buttons however. Ironically, by not being turn-based, one of the features that made it interesting for its time, is one of the things that could hold it back from being a truly great touchscreen game due to the need for on-screen controls. But all these question and more (like can those buttons be any less invasive?) will be answered soon before the end of the year when Secret of Mana is said to be out.